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'Flint is always a concern for our bedroom communities'


Sheriff responds to Flint's top crime rate report from FBI



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July 03, 2013 - According to data published by the FBI, the number of violent crimes across the United States rose by 1.2 percent in 2012, after falling for five consecutive years. The increase was even greater in some of America's largest cities.

In 2012, for the third year in a row, Flint, had the highest violent crime rate in the country. Detroit was number two.

The FBI classifies violent crimes as murder, non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. In some cases, the cities with the highest violent crime rate, including Flint and Oakland (Calif.), had high rates in all four categories.

Area law enforcement are aware of the possible implications such high crime areas have on suburbs and out-county areas.

Atlas Township is about 15 miles from the City of Flint.

"Flint is always a concern for our bedroom communities," said Robert J. Pickell, Genesee County Sheriff. "The criminal element is not just limited to city limits. We have been very fortunate so far in many of the out-county areas regarding the impact Fllint has on them."

The sheriff's contract, cost taxpayers $565,000 for 12 months, and includes four deputies, along with funding for a part-time detective-sergeant split between Fenton and Atlas townships. The residents of Vienna Township, also have a contract with the sheriff's office for police coverage.

"The major concern is the drug trafficking," added Pickell. "Young people go into Flint from Atlas Township or other out-county areas—often they want to be big shots, honestly they are just 'babes in arms' compared to Flint area criminals. They are going to get hurt."

The other impact would be drugs trafficking into Atlas Township from the Flint area.

"Many residents in the township area have jobs and money to pay for drugs here," he said. "We are diligently monitoring groups of individuals that transport drugs and so far have very little problem with 'rough necks' in the Atlas Township area."

Similar drug traffic is also part of the equation in other out-county areas, he added.

"Education from parents and the community in general regarding drug awareness makes the biggest impact on youth."

Pickell said that deputies in the out-county areas are aware of those out of place in a specific community.

"The deputies in Atlas Township care about the community," he said. "Sometimes it's not the number of deputies, but the quality and level of concern they have toward their community."

Pickell added that especially in the rural areas residents are advised to report any suspicious vehicles or individuals in their neighborhood.

"When there are breaking and entering reports it's often from outside the township," he said. "They know people work and are gone during the day, so just stay aware."

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